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Reeves signs Blackwell bill on Medicaid postpartum extension

Governor Tate Reeves today signed Senate Bill 2212 which extends postpartum care from two to 12 months for mothers on Medicaid in Mississippi. State Sen. Kevin Blackwell (R-Southaven) authored the legislation that passed the Senate on a Feb. 7 and passed the House of Representatives on March 7.

In signing the legislation, Gov. Reeves made these remarks:  

“Last year, Mississippi led the way to the single greatest conservative victory in a generation – the overturning of Roe v. Wade. This watershed moment in history was a monumental victory that will save the lives of millions of babies for generations.

 “But while the overturning of Roe is something every pro-life American can be proud of, winning a court case was never our true objective. Rather, it was about building a culture of life throughout our state and our nation. It was about saving lives and it was about tipping the scales toward life.

 “Today in Mississippi, we have turned our attention to furthering our new pro-life agenda, and delivering the support moms and babies need. As I’ve said before, our new pro-life agenda will not be easy, and it will not be free. And there’s little doubt that we’re going to face some difficult choices along the way. But if there’s one thing we should all agree on, it’s that we must do everything in our power to lower barriers for expectant moms to bring new babies into the world and to choose life.

 “Today, Mississippi will take another step to accomplish that goal. Since the very early days of my term as Governor, CMS has required 12 months of postpartum Medicaid coverage for all those expectant moms enrolled in the program. In fact, in Mississippi, we have had presumed eligibility for Medicaid for those moms for much longer than that. Senate Bill 2212 becomes law today and will continue that 12 months of postpartum Medicaid coverage for Mississippi’s neediest moms, all without adding additional people to Medicaid’s rolls.

“When Mississippi started the fight to overturn Roe, pro-abortion advocates never gave us a chance at succeeding. Now, they’re counting us out when it comes to delivering the support moms need to raise healthy babies. Mississippi will once again prove the pro-abortion advocates wrong – but only if we don’t quit our pro-life fight now that Roe has been struck down.

“I’ve been against Medicaid expansion since it was first proposed by Barack Obama. I still am. And, as what many would call the leading advocate (along with Speaker Gunn) fighting against Obamacare expansion, I have plenty of scars to show for it. In 2019, the media and politicians loved to attack me for saying we don’t need to put hundreds of thousands more Mississippians on Medicaid. They’ll do it again this election year. That’s usually proof that you’re on the right track. They’ll still find a way to attack me for this, because they hate conservatives. 

“I believe continuing to offer care for new moms for up to 12 months after the birth of their baby is the right thing to do. This is one more thing that we can do to tip the scales in favor of life. And that has to be our priority. It is for those reasons that I signed SB 2212 (continuing 12 months of postpartum care for new moms) into law today.”

Governor Reeves called for the legislation and signaled his intent to sign it on Feb. 26. Approximately 65 percent of new births in Mississippi involve mothers who are on Medicaid.

Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch offered the following comments after Reeves’ passage of the bill.

“I am pleased to see Mississippi join the majority of states in supporting women in their transition to motherhood by providing this essential health coverage. 

“Beyond the obvious health impacts, extending Medicaid coverage to 12 months helps these new mothers build strong families. For women who find themselves in a position of having to raise a child without steady income, family support, job skills or education, healthcare coverage frees up income to pay for childcare and other necessities that allow their families to survive. And it allows them to pursue the upskilling they and their families need to thrive.

“Strong families make for a strong Mississippi. Supporting them is not only the right thing to do; it is the smart thing to do.”

Senate Bill 2212 can be read in full here.

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